My life has been touched by some uber amazing women whose passion for life and the way they choose to live it have really inspired me. Some are bloggers, some are not, their lives are all different and they are all special. I feel honoured and privileged that they are sharing their stories and sprinkling a little bit of their awesome right here. May you be wom-inspired!
Meet Katie Manning.
I used to work with Katie but it was only after she left and moved onto bigger and better things that I learned of her blog and her wellness journey. She was so happy and so healthy that I had no idea that she had ever been ill. I love how she has used her own experience to offer light at the end of the tunnel for others living with CFS. Katie talks the talk and walks the walk. She’s so awesome and yes, you guessed it, she’s so inspiring!
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m Katie and I’m originally from the UK, but I’m now living in sunny Sydney, Australia with my husband. I became ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS or M.E.) at age 18, and it was a really rough ride. I was sleeping for 22 hours a day, completely reliant on other people to look after my and never believing that I’d ever live a normal life again. I was severely affected for 2 years, but still suffered in silence after that, telling people I’d be ok and then relapsing really badly, ending up back at square one. But after about 10 years of soul-searching and a lot (a lot, a lot!) of trial and error, I finally healed myself of CFS and have been living illness-free (not even a cold) for the last 5 years. I know it’s never coming back, but I’m grateful for the lessons it taught me, and I now love to share these lessons with others.
I’m an author, mentor and speaker at www.conqueringfearspiritually.com (CFS- geddit?!) and I’m basically creating the website that I wanted to have access to when I was trying to get better. We have a gorgeous community of people who are all looking to improve their health and life with CFS, and it’s a real pleasure to be a part of it.
Tell us 3 things you are and 3 things you’re not.
I’m curious, a great listener and obsessed with brogues and bright colours (bright-coloured brogues are a bonus!)
I’m not perfect, I’m not great at introducing myself to new people and I’m not averse to a bit of adventure every once in a while.
Complete this sentence, ____________________ changed my life. How and why?
Well, it’s simple really- having CFS changed my life, and I’m thankful for the experience every day. When I was going through the agony of sleeping for 22 hours and day and having to crawl to the bathroom for the best part of 2 years, there’s no way I’d have been able to see the silver lining in my cloud. But I honestly believe that having gone through it has made me a more grounded and understanding person, and I definitely became less anxious as a result (I used to worry about absolutely everything. If I wasn’t worried, I worried!)
What has been life’s greatest lesson?
This has been written about a lot over the years, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that sometimes the pain of not doing something can be worse than the pain of staying where you are. One of my favourite quotes is by Anaïs Nin and it reads, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I read this when I was at about 85% of the way back to full health, and it’s always at the front of thoughts.
A daily lesson for me as well is that it’s completely ok to look after and take care of myself, so that I can show up in the world for others. I’m not sure at what point we started to believe that taking care of ourselves was selfish and unnecessary, but I strive every day to practise what I preach.
What is your biggest achievement?
I was just thinking about this the other day- it’s a tough one! Moving to Australia with my husband was a huge risk and adventure, but it’s the best thing we ever did. If I’m honest though, the fact that I haven’t been sick for 5 years, not even a cold, is a huge achievement for someone who used to visit the doctor on a nearly weekly basis. I’m so incredibly grateful for my good health.
What has been your toughest obstacle and how have you overcome it?
Managing setbacks or relapses with CFS was by far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to deal with. We often want to use up the little energy we have when we have CFS, but we can end up making ourselves much worse than when we started out. We also have no idea how long we’re going to be sick for, as there’s no cure. I learned some painful lessons during these times and it would’ve been really easy to give up, but I think the belief and knowledge that there was a bigger picture and that one day everything would click into place was key to overcoming this long, debilitating illness.
Viktor Frankl says “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.” Everyone needs a purpose, what’s yours?
For a while, I was having trouble articulating exactly what my purpose was, but recently I’ve realised that it’s to completely change how people think about M.E./CFS and fatigue-related illnesses. Lots of believe that we are lazy, but I’ve never met a lazy person with this illness. All people with CFS want is to be listened to and believed when we tell others about our symptoms, even if they can’t fully understand what we’re going through. Just being there for someone is everything.
What are your words to live by?
‘Be kind’ seems to sum everything up quite nicely.
If you could have any mentor, alive or dead, who would you choose and why?
I think it’s absolutely impossible for me to choose one. I think everyone we meet is a mentor in some way, even those we don’t get on with, but it’s often difficult to look for the lesson in each interaction.
If you could play hookie for a day what would be on your list to do?
Great question! Honestly, nothing gives me more excitement than waking up in the morning with no plans, so I’d probably just wake up early and see where the road took me!
You give so much to others, what do you do to take care of yourself?
I do lots of little things, but at regular intervals throughout the day. I truly believe that looking after yourself doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming- sometimes just moving into the ‘time out’ mindset is all you need.
I really love meditation and going for long walks. In fact, I think the two go together quite well- I’ll always jump off the bus a few stops early and just wander down the street. Getting fresh air can really clear the cobwebs away.
Reading with a big cup of tea also really takes me out of myself- I can completely lose myself in a book.
Thank you for sharing, Katie.
Let Katie inspire you a little bit more…
on the blog
and on instagram